Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 | 12:47 p.m.
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First-year College of Southern Nevada baseball coach Nick Garritano knows the junior college program will likely never see another player like Bryce Harper.
Not the long home runs, intimidating presence in the batter’s box and once-in-a-lifetime talent.
Harper, who left high school after his sophomore year to play at CSN last spring, will have his No. 34 jersey retired by the school next Friday prior to the Coyotes’ season opener at its facility on the Henderson campus.
The catcher and outfielder batted .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs in 66 games in 2010 to lead CSN to the Junior College World Series. Most of his hitting success came with a wooden bat, which is supposed to make offensive success difficult.
Just not for Harper.
His home run total nearly tripled the school’s previous best of 12 long balls.
“How many times in this game is the first pick in the draft going to be from your program?” said Garritano, the former Green Valley High coach. “Thirty-one home runs, mostly with a wooden, that’s unheard of.”
Harper was the first pick in June’s First-Entry Player Entry Draft, being selected by the Washington Nationals and signing a five-year contract worth $9.9 million. He was also the recipient of the Golden Spikes Award, the highest honor for an amateur baseball player that had only once been given to a non-Division I player.
Harper played two years at Las Vegas High, hitting a combined 25 home runs with 93 RBIs. He gained attention nationally after his sophomore year when he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with a headline proclaiming him “Baseball’s Chosen One.” The national attention followed to CSN, where despite efforts to limit media access, the program went from hardly followed to national spotlight.
Two others will also have their jerseys retired next Friday.
Tim Chambers, the program’s first coach who led them to the 2003 national title, will have his No. 6 jersey retired.
Chambers left the school this summer following the Coyotes’ run to the World Series to become the coach at UNLV. He started the program from scratch and had it constantly ranked high in the national polls during his 11-year tenure.
Also, Mike Dunn’s jersey No. 44 will be retired. Dunn, a Cimarron-Memorial High product, was an outfielder at CSN but reached the big leagues as a relief pitcher. The left-hander has spent time with the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins organizations. He was with the Yankees in 2009 when they won the World Series, but wasn’t part of the postseason roster.